News :: Moon & Back To Release Menzingers Benefit Compilation

The other night in Manchester, The Menzingers played an absolutely awesome show with Leagues Apart, Red City Radio and The Bouncing Souls. After the show, the guys came to hang out with everyone at a bar. During this time, their van was broken into and a whole lot of stuff was stolen.

Last night, Greg Barnett (guitar/vocals) released the following statement:

We played a sold out show at The Moho last night in Manchester which ended up being the absolute best show of tour. It was one for the books. Everything’s going great. We walk around the block to the van and I hear Dave give a quiet “oh fuck”. The driver side window was smashed out and three personal bags were stolen, my bag with all of our tour money inside it, $2000 in US in case of an emergency. €5000 Euros, an iPad, 3 iPods, 3 passports, 2 pairs of RayBans, my personal tour journals from the last year and a half which included all of my lyrics and all of my memories, a digital camera, prescriptions, It really fucking sucks because it’s not your fault and so many – in fact an absurd amount of you want to help out. It’s pretty surreal and heartwarming to know we’re not alone in this situation.

In response to this we here at Moon & Back Music have decided to help them out by putting together a Menzingers covers compilation. This compilation will be released on Bandcamp in the near future and will feature tracks from a lot of fantastic artists. All proceeds will, of course, go to The Menzingers.

The first of these tracks is available to listen to now, and it comes courtesy of Giles Bidder from Great Cynics.

We’ll have details on the other artists and where/when you can download the compilation in the coming days.


Anthony Barlow

Editor, Moon & Back Music

Album Review :: Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun – Death

“It takes what was there and improves on it but, at the same time, it doesn’t lose any of what made you fall in love with the band in the first place.”

I was first introduced to Jim Lockey & The Solemn sun a few years back at Lexapalooza, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Their, self proclaimed, “country without the ‘O'” tunes have been a constant for me since that fateful day, so I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on the lads’ latest effort. And I was right to be excited, because Death is absolutely awesome (wow, that was a weird sentence to write), albeit a bit of a departure from what they’ve done before.

Granted, it starts off pretty similar, the soft strumming of an acoustic guitar and Jim’s soothing vocals opening up the album on ‘England’s Dead’. This softness last’s about a minute before being pushed aside by the wail of an electric guitar and the crash of cymbals, a force that continues throughout. It’s a more powerful record that’s for sure, with the boys edging towards quite a punk sound on occasion. Shit, they’ve even got a twenty-second song in ‘Sail Me Down The River’ – it doesn’t get much more punk than that!

This new found power has made The Solemn Sun even more integral when it comes to how this record sounds. I’m not saying they didn’t play a key role on Atlases, but those songs always felt lead by Jim’s acoustic and that the band were there just to provide subtle backing. On Death the band is vital. Without the band (in one form or another) some of these songs just wouldn’t be the same. In a way it reminds me of, label mate, Frank Turner’s Poetry Of The Deed: There are still tracks like those found on the last record – ‘Our Fathers’ stands out as the perfect example of Jim really carrying a song (and doing it well, I might add) – but for the most part, the band is really an integral part of the listening experience. That comes as no surprise, when you find out who was sat behind the desk.

Producer extraordinaire, Pete Miles really knows how to bring the best out of an already great band. The man has produced some of the best records in ‘alternative’ music (to use a catch all term) in recent years – including, my favourite record of last year, Great Cynics’ Don’t Need Much and, the absolutely amazing, Born To Ruin by Crazy Arm – so having him work with guys as talented as this feels like a match made in musical heaven. It’s really paid off too as, not only does it sound powerful, it sounds slick too. That’s not to say that it doesn’t get a little rough in spots, but it’s easy to give those a pass when the record is so good overall.

Death does everything a good second album should. It takes what was there and improves on it but, at the same time, it doesn’t lose any of what made you fall in love with the band in the first place. It still feels like a folk record, albeit one that comes out and hits you in the face, the lyrics are still poignant and the songs are as good as, if not better than, those that came before.

Trust me, you can expect big things from these guys in the future.

Podcast :: UTB #35: We’re Going On Tour With Soundgarden Too!

“If you see an old woman on the street…hit her with a crowbar” – Ian Critchley

The subject of Carol Vorderman is firmly off the table for this week’s Under The Bridge, we’re sticking to the music talk. Thank christ for that! This week Emma Hallows tells us all about her recent tour with Dave Hughes, we discuss hypothetical meetings between penguins and polar bears and are asked the question “What is Cliff Richard doing right now?”

This week’s music is provided by Great Cynics, Martha, Harker and The Menzingers. No excuse for this being late. Barlow (eds note: honestly) just forgot we’d done it. It was edited, ready to go, and everything!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #35: We’re Going On Tour With Soundgarden Too!

EP Review :: Great Cynics – In The Valley

“I had this feeling that this is how Giles originally imagined these songs sounding.”

After the success of their debut album Don’t Need Much, Great Cynics return with something some people might be a little familiar with already. Well, sort of: Back when the band was just Giles and his guitar, and no one had even brought up the idea of a name change, he’d recorded some songs that people really dug. In fact they still do dig these songs, and that’s why we have In The Valley – an EP comprised of full-band versions of three original Cynics songs.

Both ‘You’re Alright’ and ’14 Coleman Street’ have been mainstays of Great Cynics’ sets for some time, so it’s great to finally have full band recordings of these already fantastic tunes. Those already fond of Giles’ original recordings won’t be disappointed either. The extra instrumentation only improves on what was already there. A stronger vocal performance from Giles and better production certainly help too.

The same can be said for ‘In The Valley’. The EP’s opening/title track is the only one of the three that might be less familiar to some fans of the band, but I’ve got a feeling that’ll change pretty soon. This too is a massive improvement over the original recording, and it’s really cool to hear Iona lending her vocal talents more prominently than before. And as good as the other two tracks are, I think this might be my favorite of the bunch.

When I first finished listening to this EP (and I’ve listened to it a whole fucking lot!), I had this feeling that this is how Giles originally imagined these songs sounding. He might not have done but, either way, they’ve turned out awesome. Don’t be an idiot. Get this and, if you haven’t already, go and buy Don’t Need Much too!

Video :: Apologies, I Have None – ‘Clapton Pond’

Apologies, I Have None have a new record coming out really soon, and it’s shaping up really well. Having already released ’60 Miles’ earlier in the year, the London-based band have just debuted another new song. ‘Clapton Pond’ is a massive tune – which is totally indicative of the band’s previous work – and the video is an absolute masterpiece. Shot by Julian G. Harding and starring Sam Russo, it feels more like a short film than a music video and is deserving of all the praise it’s getting.

Apologies, I Have None head out on a short UK tour with Crazy Arm and Great Cynics on February 29th, and are playing a few dates with, acclaimed country singer/songwriter, Austin Lucas. Shortly after, the band will embark on the release tour for, debut album, London. This is followed by a few dates with Touche Amore and Pianos Become The Teeth.

  • White Rabbit, Plymouth – Feb 29th w/Austin Lucas
  • Croft, Bristol – March 1st w/Austin Lucas
  • The Hydrant, Brighton – March 2nd
  • Firebug, Leicester – March 3rd
  • Fighting Cocks, Kingston – March 4th
  • Karma Cafe, Norwich – March 5th
  • ManchFESTer II – Kraak Gallery, Manchester – March 17th w/Above Them, Sam Russo, Calvinball, Great Cynics + more!
  • The Central, Newcastle – March 18th
  • Santiagos, Leeeds – March 19th
  • The Flapper, Birmingham – March 20th
  • The Edge Of The Wedge, Portsmouth – March 21st
  • The Old Blue Last, London – March 22nd w/Sam Russo + ‘Special Guests’
  • Thekla, Bristol – March 26th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth
  • Sound Control, Manchester – March 27th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth
  • XOYO, London – March 28th w/Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth

Video :: Great Cynics – ‘In The Valley’

London punk trio, Great Cynics are set to release a new EP later this month and, fittingly, they’ve released a tune for us all to check out. Fans from back in the day might recognise ‘In The Valley’ – the EP’s title track – from one of Giles’ earlier, solo, recordings. In fact, each of the EP’s three tracks are full band versions of songs Giles originally recorded solo. As fan favourites, it makes sense that these songs get a new lease of life.

We’ll have a full review soon but, for now, I can tell you that you should pre-order ‘In The Valley’ from Banquet Records (UK) or Kind Of Like Records (US). First of all check out this ‘unofficial’ video for ‘In The Valley’. See how many of the UK’s punk rock stalwarts you can spot!

Don’t Panic :: Lucero – London

“She was dressed as if she’d been kicked out the arse end of the 1940’s, and would not shut the fuck up”

Giles Bidder - Asleep On A Couch

At the bus stop I was greeted by a girl who talked incessantly about Sheffield, and the book she was reading. She was dressed as if she’d been kicked out the arse end of the 1940’s, and would not shut the fuck up. Thankfully she didn’t speak to me while we rode into Manchester, which gave me time to familiarise myself with Ben Nichols lyrics. She reminded me of the book, which I forgot straight away, and also told me her name (which I also instantly forgot) before she departed somewhere near Salford. My mind was in a full though tornado, which made it hard to think of anything but the task at hand.

I met Barlow at the coach station and, after jumping the 30p turnstile so I could take a shit, we boarded to London. The ride down was fine. I napped pleasantly most of the way. Not exactly sleeping, more a closing of eyes paired with a rhythm of deep breaths, but peaceful enough to replenish some of the lost hours from the previous night and slight deplete the high levels of anxiety coursing through my nervous system.

We arrived in London and found the hotel quite easily – it was roughly five minutes from the coach station which was 5 minutes from the underground – which was a relief that travel would be a stone’s throw away. The hotel itself was very basic, but more than adequate for one night. The room was two floors down in the basement and the toilet was 5 floors higher than this on the top floor of the building. This seemed a long way just to take a piss so after making Barlow turn his back, I relieved myself in the small sink that was included in the room. It looked like a prison but it was well worth the £33 we’d paid between us.

Barlow had been texting Jim Lockey, trying to arrange a return gig for him in Manchester after the success of the last show of ours he’d played. After finding out Jim and the Solemn Sun were playing that night in Camdem, and that we had a good few hours to kill, we headed down to the venue and decided to talk business face to face. Even for a Thursday Camdem was packed to the teeth with the ignorant masses. I swear as soon as anyone enters London their personalities are drained and they become the walking dead. No manners, no emotion. Jim wasn’t at the venue yet so we took to a small coffee shop and I ordered a large mug of black coffee. I stirred it with the teaspoon and it looked like oil. It wasn’t the best thing to have when I felt so tense and anxious, but fatigue had settled in heavily so I balanced the pros and cons coming to the conclusion the caffeine kick would be better in the long run. After the coffee we headed back up to the venue and met Jim, sorted the details of the show with him and after a catch up, headed back to the hotel to drop our bags off before heading to the Windmill in Brixton for the Lucero show.

We got back to the hotel, stopping at Sainsbury’s for bread, humus and mushrooms, and got ready for the show. I made a sandwich, drank a glass of water and brushed my teeth before heading out. We boarded the underground to Brixton and on the way down bumped into an American girl who was also looking for the show so we decided to team up and after a few wrong turns eventually found the place just in time for Giles from Great Cynincs’ set.

Giles played a good set, and it was interesting to watch him solo again after seeing so many shows with a full band. The next act was a guy called Dexy who sounded (and quite looked like) Chris Carraba, so much I was waiting for him to start knocking out Dashboard Confessional covers like so many short lived wanks. Finally Lucero took the stage, and even though it was only Ben and Rick, they played a great set with the majority of the crowd drinking heavily, raising glasses and singing louder than Ben. They played for roughly an hour and a half until both the members seemed too drunk and burnt out to carry on. They promised they’d be back the next night, we had tickets for that too, and with the last underground in less than half an hour, we decided to head back to the hotel instead of hanging around for handshakes.

I tried to sleep back in the room, but the lack of alcohol, the strange bed I was in, and Barlow’s avalanche causing snores forced me into another hot sweat night with the minimal sleep. Waking the next day was a torture as all I wanted to do was stay in the bunker trying to rest until it was time for the show, unfortunately check out was at ten thirty am and it was roughly around ten by the time we finally got out of the beds and ready to go. We dropped off the key, heading towards Peckham to hang out at the house where Giles, James Hull and a few more of the best UK underground artists lived.

The View From Greenwich Park

The anxiety was rife by this point, hitting peaks that hadn’t been hit for many years. The sleep deprivation and the feeling of being completely removed from any comfort zone with no haven to return to sent my brain into a full fight or flight situation. We arrived at the house, Astbury Castle, and sat around for a few hours talking to Giles, whilst he slept wrapped in a sleeping bag on the couch, and to the abundance of people who seemed to walk in and out of the house keeping an open door policy. I decided was insane, I felt like I could never live in such a situation, I needed my privacy, my locked doors and my drawn curtains. it was great to hang out there but it wasn’t a situation I could stay in for too long.

Barlow wanted to head to Kingston to check out Banquet Records but I was in no state so we decided to split and he headed in that direction whilst I headed to Greenwich Park to clear my head and check out the surroundings. At the top of the hill at Greenwich, I turned around to see the entire of London centre – The millennium dome to the right and the rest of the shit to left, this was the perspective I needed and I instantly felt glad I was here. My mind was in the gutter, my stomach was spinning and I felt as if I would pass out in seconds, but I was here and having fought the battle and won was the greatest feeling I could have. No matter how much I felt like I was circling the drain, it was worth it.

I headed back to The Castle for a coffee and a final chat with its inhabitants, I was still in limbo but now it was easier to deal with because I knew I’d pulled through the hardest parts. I drank a coffee from a pot that had been brought from Amsterdam and wondered if those crazy fucks put weed in everything they made. I drank it, then headed to the train station to head back to Victoria to rendezvous with Barlow.

I rode the train and was awash with a sense of surrealism. It had been an incredible journey thus far, but I felt so physically and emotionally drained it was hard to even believe it was real, let alone appreciate it. I stared out the window at the estates and the unfamiliarity of them made me feel as if perhaps it wasn’t reality but a dream. I knew the anxiety made me feel like this but even that realisation didn’t remove this sense of fantasy.

The train pulled into the station and Barlow was waiting on a nearby bench. We head a few hours to kill before the show, and a friend of his wanted to meet with us so we went to the Wetherspoons and drank a warm, flat pint of Carling while waiting. We waited just over an hour and by the time the girl got there we had to leave, we headed into the underground to continue onto Brixton. Barlow’s friend didn’t have any credit on her Oyster card, so she left. We’d waited over an hour and she’d been with us for five minutes. We rode the underground then walked down to the venue, entered, ordered some drinks and sat drinking with Sam Russo until the show started and a small short haired girl took the stage. Her songs weren’t to my taste but she tried to get everyone involved, so I couldn’t fault her on effort. Russo took the stage next and having seen Lucero the previous night I was more eager for Russo than the headliners. Sam played superbly, and it seemed clear by the reception from the crowd that I wasn’t the only one excited to watch him play. After Russo, Lucero were back in their two man form and began ripping through songs from their back catalogue. Some were repeated from the previous night, but the crowd were mostly new faces so this was understandable. We continued drinking the pints and Barlow bought a large glass of Jameson for me and himself so we drank this down before leaving early to catch the coach home.

We eventually got to the coach station after buying a couple of cans for the ride back. Drinking them whilst talking loudly, we were asked to shut up by some German students and after we’d finished our drinks, slept until we arrived back in Manchester.

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Emma Hallows’ Top 5

The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music.

Today it’s the turn of Emma Hallows: Friend of the site and singer/songwriter from Manchester (stranded in Huddersfield for the foreseeable future).

Barlow asked me to do my top 5 records of 2011, so here they are:

5. The Lonely Isand – Turtleneck And Chain
Throwing a spanner in the works. I laughed so hard.

4. Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground
I think my all time favourie Chuck song might be on this record.

3. Dave Hause – Resoloutions
Beacuse Dave is an all around top bloke.

2. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
Me and my thoughts about Brian Fallon are like an aging marriage: He doesn’t half piss me off, but i don’t like the idea of dying alone.

1. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much
I love Giles, Iona and Bob.

I would also like to give an honorable mention to Helen Chambers, Sam Russo, Jimmy Islip and Chuck Ragan, who did the best Split/EP of the year, it totally rocks.

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Barlow’s Top 5

The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music.
Today it’s the turn of, Moon & Back Music Editor, Anthony Barlow.

5. Laura Stevenson & The Cans – Sit Resist

It wasn’t one that hit me right away (technology conspired against me), but Sit Resist is a beautiful record. Need I say more? Oh, alright.

I found Sit Resist to be one of the most charming records of the year. It’s uplifting, and often child-like, instrumentation makes it unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time, and Laura’s vocals are nothing less than amazing. Seeing her and the band play live is one of the highlights of this year for me.
Dismiss this record at your peril!

4. Into It. Over It. – Proper

After blasting through all the seven-inches, splits and compilations I could get my hands on, it was great to finally get a proper (sorry, I couldn’t resist) full length out of Into It. Over It. With a sound that I can best describe as “Thursday meets Onelinedrawing”, I immediately fell in love with it.

How I’d not heard Evan’s stuff earlier seems insane. Little did I know that, come the end of the year, he’d have released a record that’d crack my ‘Top 5’ and have even helped spawn a whole new branch of Moon & Back. Cheers, Evan!

3. Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse

It might have been released way back in January, but there was no way I could forget Outside There’s A Curse. Armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, Ben Marwood manages to evoke every emotion possible – each of them encased within some of the cleverest, most poignant, lyrics I’ve ever heard – with this collection of acoustic gems.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Ben is bound for big things so, do yourselves a favour, get in on the ground floor and check out this record. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. I just wish he’d have put ‘We Are No Longer Twenty-Five On Here!’

2. Dan Andriano In The Emmergency Room – Hurricane Season

Alkaline Trio are one of my favourite bands of all time and Dan Andriano may well be my all time favourite songwriter. So, as you can imagine, I was excited to have an album full of ‘Dan songs’. As excited as I was, I couldn’t help but think this could be an album of Alkaline Trio cast offs.This doubt was soon remedied and, as it turns out, the whole record is a real step away from the kinds of things I’m used to hearing out of Dan.

Hurricane Season feels a lot more personal than his recent songs with Trio, and the wide range of instrumentation makes these songs a hell of a lot more interesting than if this had been another ‘one man and a guitar’ effort.

1. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much

I’m not gonna lie, as soon as I heard Don’t Need Much, I knew it’d be sitting on top of this list come the end of the year. It quickly became one of my go to records, and I reckon it’s been played at least once a day since I got it. I’m not trying to say it’s perfect, but it’s got that something – that thing you just can’t put your finger on – that makes it completely awesome.

It’s a collection of ten, fantastic, simple, (mostly) upbeat, pop punk songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Go get it!

Moon & Back Session :: Great Cynics

© 2011 Louise Distras

Ladies and gentlemen… Great Cynics

Great Cynics are one of our favorite bands right now, so to have Giles do a session for the site was pretty awesome. We’d dragged him up to Manchester to play a show, but made sure to get him “in session” for you guys too. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a dodgy hat, Giles sat and performed ’14 Coleman Street’ and a cover of, Paint It Black’s, ‘Memorial Day’ outside a Manchester bar.

We think it turned out quite well, but what do you think. Let us know in the comments and be sure to let us know who you’d like to see us get a hold of in the future.

14 Coleman Street

Memorial Day (Paint It Black cover)